When the Franklin volleyball team is in need of a big point, a senior with an affinity for detective shows is usually on the case.
Alyvia Sundheimer was a reliable role player for the Grizzly Cubs last season, first as a middle blocker and then as an outside hitter when the team was hampered by injuries.
Now, as the lone senior on the roster, she’s emerged as Franklin’s leader and go-to hitter. In the big moments, Grizzly Cub setter Brooke Phillips is usually looking Sundheimer’s way first.
The 6-foot-1 captain anticipated having a bigger role this season and came in ready.
“I need to be smarter about how I play,” Sundheimer said, “because I get more sets this year than last year. So placing it, working on the basics more.”
In addition to leading the Grizzly Cubs — who were 19-3 and ranked 17th in Class 4A going into Thursday’s match with Beech Grove — in kills and blocks, Sundheimer has also proven to be a valuable weapon with her serve, pacing the team in aces.
Perhaps more importantly, she’s embraced the leadership role after being a bit more willing to defer in previous seasons.
“Liv’s really stepped up into that, and she does a great job of being the senior role model,” Franklin coach Roxanne Chapman said.
“I feel like I need to be mature,” Sundheimer added. “I need to careful how I compose myself on the court because I know people look up to me now more than last year, just because I’m a senior and I am the only one.”
It also might be her last season of volleyball. Though she’s drawing interest from some collegiate programs, Sundheimer is basing her decisions with a career in mind. She’d like to become a forensic scientist — a field she developed a passion for by watching such television shows as “Criminal Minds.”
“That’s the only thing I’ve ever been super interested in, so I figured I would go with it,” Sundheimer said.
She hasn’t ruled out playing volleyball at the next level, but it’s not her top priority.
“I’d rather go to a school for academics,” she said, “and if I could play there, that’d be awesome.”